Her Choice is an alliance of four Netherlands based organizations: Stiching Kinderpostzegels Nederland (lead organisation), The Hunger Project, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) and the University of Amsterdam. These organizations combine their efforts with 27 local partner organizations to combat child marriage in eleven countries. The programme runs from January 2016 to December 2020 and is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

In Nepal, Her Choice is being implemented in partnership between CWIN and International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI). This programme aims at delaying the age of marriage for girls in targeted communities to over 18. Specific objectives include to enhance knowledge and skills of adolescent girls (and also boys) on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) and increase their access to good quality SRHR services, to increase access of girls to girl friendly education and to minimize dropout rates of girls (from research we know that the longer a girl stays in school, the later she marries), to increase knowledge of girls on social support and financial education, and specifically on Child Helpline Services, and to improve implementation of existing laws and policy on combatting child marriage. Adolescents, parents and teachers are the main beneficiaries, in three districts: Banke, Makwanpur and Morang.

Strategies Adopted by the Programme

The programme adopts six intervention strategies:

Increasing girls’ control in decision making

  • Investing in Girls, their knowledge, skills related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and participation in society: enhancing their comprehension of the negative effects of child marriage and alternative options.
  • Keeping girls in school: improving access to formal education for girls by supporting girl-friendly schools and building knowledge through schooling in general, and on SRHR in particular.
  • Improving access to youth friendly SRHR services for girls: improving health services by actively referring girls to health workers.

Mobilizing relevant community actors

  • Strengthening the economic security of girls and their families: creating and supporting women’s self help groups with training and access to (financial) resources.
  • Transforming social norms and traditional practices: mobilizing and supporting communities, including boys, men, women, leaders to promote girls’ rights and gender equity, to achieve gender equity in education, decision making, and access to services.
  • Creating an enabling legal and policy environment on preventing child marriage: supporting traditional leaders and (local) authorities to enforce national policies on preventing child marriage.

CWIN is member of the Nepal Girl Not Bride alliance, which is part of the international Girls Not Brides alliance http://www.her-choice.org/en/uncategorized/religious-nepalese-leaders-condemning-child-marriage/

Mero Jivan Mero Rojai – My Life My Choice. A video Against Child Marriage

This story starts in the summer of 2017, in 2 villages in the Terai region of Nepal – close to the Indian border – where child marriage is still highly practiced. Despite 20 being the legal age for marriage in Nepal, 41% of girls are married before they are 18, and 29% by the time they are 15.
A group of boys and girls decides to take it in their hands to make their communities child-marriage free. And to inspire other young people to do the same, they decide to share their experience through a video that they will create themselves.

With the support of CWIN – HER CHOICE partner in Nepal – these resourceful teenagers hold workshops in their 2 villages to establish the key messages they want to convey, then write the content, finally they shoot the video and star in it. Among their key messages: 1. child marriage and child pregnancies must end 2. boys and men must be more involved in the fight against early marriages 3. it is possible to end child marriage. If we succeeded, others can do it as well.
The result is this amazing video, where the presenters Akash (15) and Sapnam (16) take us to Lagdaha, their small village near Nepalgunj, through the reasons why child marriage is still practiced there, and in the personal stories of some of their fellows.

Then Dipesh (16) and Sarmilla (16) guide us through Basan, their village of only 75 households sitting on the banks of a river. It takes two hours’ drive along battered roads and through the river to reach Basan from the nearest town. Child marriage used to be widely practiced here. Then 2 years ago, following some awareness-raising activities on the many damages child marriage causes, all inhabitants of the village publically signed up an agreement and committed themselves not to have their children married before they become at least 20. The list of signatures hangs proudly in the village communal hut, where the young people of Basan tell us about their hopes and dreams for the future. Some want to become teachers, some football players, and they all want to go on with studying and developing themselves before they can marry.

Follow this link to watch the video.